Please help - DSis just disclosed awful truth about her relationship -what do we do next?

(114 Posts)
ItsGettingLight Mon 03-Aug-20 05:08:34

My poor sister has just confessed the dreadful situation she is living in with her partner. I always knew he was an arsehole but had no idea the full extent - he is emotionally, financially and sexually abusive to her. sad

I need practical advice on how to help her get out. She has told me she wants out, but doesn’t want to tell him until she and the children are all set up somewhere and she can just walk away. She doesn’t know how to make this happen and nor do I, although I know from being on here that it can be done. They aren’t married, he owns the property they live in, they have two children together. We are in Scotland. She works part time and she has told me that she has used an online benefit calculator and thinks she would be OK money wise once out. She has no cash at her disposal at present but we/our parents could help her. She looks after the children apart from during her PT job, which she tries to do during the evenings and overnight so her partner doesn’t have to have the kids on his own too much.

I want to help her leave. Please tell me what we need to do to organise a home and benefits without his knowledge.

OP’s posts: |
Bmidreams Mon 03-Aug-20 05:24:41

Can she just get out now and stay with family in the first instance?

RJnomore1 Mon 03-Aug-20 05:28:03

Contact your local womens aid and CAB for practical advice.

Be prepared for her not to be able to leave, or stay gone, the first time.

She’s lucky to have a sister she can tell, and who will help.

Voxx Mon 03-Aug-20 05:28:30

When I left my abusive husband, I stayed with my parents for a while until I got myself sorted. Is that an option?

JingsMahBucket Mon 03-Aug-20 05:38:53

I say this on many threads... have her change her passwords and tighten up her security. When she’s browsing the internet make sure she clears aval of her browser history after she’s done. This will allow her to search for help like Women’s Aid, Child Maintenance, Universal crédit, etc without fear of being caught or inciting retribution.

She should create a new email address with a password that’s un-guessable by her partner so she can securely navigate her exit.

She should start quietly gathering important docs her and the children need like passports, ID, school enrollment papers, etc. Can she store them with you or another friend who’s physically close to her and won’t tell her soon to be ex?

Notifying the school of the situation may be a good step as well because that could flag any behaviour changes in the children. It’ll also let them know not to release the children to the ex-partner due to safety reasons.

There’s lots more I’m sure but there will be others coming along to help you. Tell your sister she’s brave and she can do it. Her children and she herself will thank her when they’re out of this nightmare.

QueenofmyPrinces Mon 03-Aug-20 06:12:23

I really sympathise OP - I have been in this exact position. I was heartbroken when one day my sister broke down and out of nowhere disclosed to me the truth of what was going on in her relationship which involved emotional and financial abuse. His actions were also causing harm to the children who were 4 and 7 at the time.

We cried together on the sofa, I told her she had to get out and she said she knew and that’s why she had told me.

That was on a Wednesday, and on Friday whilst her husband was at work I collected my sister, the children, and some of their belongings and took them to my house.

Her partner had no idea she was leaving until he came home after work and saw that nobody was there. She text him to say she’d left him and was at my house but thankfully he had no idea where I lived. A few days later I went back to their house when he was at work and bundled the rest of their cloths and belongings into my car and took them back to mine.

She and her children stayed with me for just over a month whilst she sorted herself out and it was a very difficult month as her being at my house caused a huge amount of upheaval for everyone. We had to make a lot of adjustments to our family life in order to accommodate my sister and the children but there was no other option.

She was in a very similar situation in that she wasn’t married to her partner, the house was in his name and she only worked part time.

It’s such a difficult situation OP, I really feel for you. You are obviously upset and worried and your sister is very lucky to have you to talk to and somebody to trust. It’s so important she escapes her home life ASAP and it’s lovely that she knows she has you to turn to flowers

oakleaffy Mon 03-Aug-20 06:33:12

Re browsing, if your sister has it, use ''Private Browsing''... and set her phone to ''shut down'' after a few seconds before needing a password.

I sincerely hope your Sister has the courage to stay away...I had two friends whop both had extremely abusive partners {not married} and what shocked me was despite needing hospital treatment, the women returned, time and time again.

One of the women after several years.

I just hope that your sister can make a clean break, and like Lot, not look back.

With children, it is hard, but it is doable.

Best of luck and Courage to your sister..She can do it...It can be very emotionally hard for you, too...especially if she goes back to him.
Don't be too surprised/hurt if she does.

Just hope she can cut loose though...Emotionally as well as physically.



mathanxiety Mon 03-Aug-20 06:58:27

Can you or your parents put them up for a while until she applies for flats or LA housing?

Can she predict when her P will be out of the house? Does he have a job?

Does she have a car?

Do you or your parents have a car? Could you hire one?

Would the sight of you in the house make her P suspicious? Do you come and go much?

Could she do some 'clutter clearance' and bring winter clothes and footwear for her and the children to your home or your parents'? Same with toys, books, any familiar items the children love?

Then when she leaves she will only have current clothing and footwear, and school uniforms and school bags to bring with her. If you're able to work fast and you hire a big enough vehicle you could bring everything she and the children own, even the children's bedding.

I agree she MUST clear her history or switch to private browsing on all devices she uses. She needs to change her passwords too.

She needs to gather paperwork and give it to you for safe keeping. Paperwork includes all ID, any certificates of education or training, health records, prescriptions, bank account info if she has access to it. If she or the DCs currently take any prescribed medicine she needs to bring that with her.

Honestly, once she has confided in you and sees a light at the end of the tunnel, she should try to get out asap. Her abusive P will sense a difference in her and she and the children will be in danger. A week at most is necessary unless her P will be at home constantly.

Is there a family pet?
She needs to bring any pets with her.

Once she is out she can contact Women's Aid Scotland, and seek support from them to create a plan to stay apart, get counseling for herself and her children, and the encouragement and validation she needs.

category12 Mon 03-Aug-20 07:00:59

Can you or your family help her with the deposit on a rental? If she literally wants to move straight out into a new place, then I'd help her look for a place and once it's ready, help her move out.

OllyBJolly Mon 03-Aug-20 07:30:17

Tell her to get in touch with Womens' Aid. Depending where you are in Scotland, there might be the possibility of emergency housing. DSis was in the same situation (good few years ago so situation may have changed). The children stayed with family and she sofa surfed for a couple of months (I think if she stayed with children with family member she wouldn't have been a priority case. There was no room anyway). She was allocated a council house quite quickly.

Womens' Aid will give good advice appropriate to your area.

CodenameVillanelle Mon 03-Aug-20 07:33:03

If she was in England she would be able to present as homeless at her local housing office and be placed in emergency accommodation that day with her children. Can you phone your local housing department and find out the process? Make it very clear that she's fleeing DV.

ItsGettingLight Mon 03-Aug-20 07:35:52

Thank you all for your replies.

I don’t know how I will manage to speak to her again about this this week. I’ve woken up feeling so scared for her. He’s in my house just now and I have to pretend everything is fine this morning. Her P is on holiday this week and they’re going away for a few days. From reading your comments I’m scared she will minimise after this and back track what she said last night. It’s a family joke that she is an ostrich about any problems. It’s not funny now though, she can’t continue to live the way she described last night.

I also feel horrified with myself as the more I think about it, the more I knew deep down that he was abusive. Not the full extent, but actually I’m not that surprised. Just devastated for her about how bad it is. Why did it take me so long to ask her if she wanted to leave?

If I phone CAB will they give me some advice about her situation? I’m really panicking now as there’s so much going on in their house just now, her eldest DC is away to start P1. I can’t see her leaving before he starts. Then I wonder if him being in P1 will be another excuse.

OP’s posts: |
KaptainKaveman Mon 03-Aug-20 07:36:35

Good luck OP .

ItsGettingLight Mon 03-Aug-20 07:37:01

How long does it take to start getting benefits once you apply?

OP’s posts: |
CodenameVillanelle Mon 03-Aug-20 07:41:22

I don't know about Scotland. It's about 5 weeks for universal credit in England.

icedaisy Mon 03-Aug-20 07:45:36

Agree re women's aid. They can direct to correct service. There are domestic abuse advice services specific to region in Scotland. For example domestic abuse advisory service in borders. They can help with everything from benefits to housing to panic alarm and phone alarm. Same service Glasgow and other areas. Start with women's aid or look for domestic abuse on your local authorities website.

300XLTriColour Mon 03-Aug-20 07:49:06

If they are about to go away, can you do anything for her at their house, like get belongings together and take a few bags etc while no one is there? Are you able to get out of the house with her for a walk away from him and see if she will continue to open up and let you help her?

SteelyPanther Mon 03-Aug-20 08:12:46

Can you speak to a family solicitor on her behalf ?
I’m not sure how she stands with them not being married. Is child maintenance all she can expect ?

SteelyPanther Mon 03-Aug-20 08:14:31

Does she have her own bank account, if so can he access it ?
If he knows her passwords, change them. She can always say the site made her change them as routine.

okiedokieme Mon 03-Aug-20 08:15:48

Firstly gather all the important documents eg birth certificates, passports, car registration documents if she owns a car, exam certificates etc etc and take to your/parents house for safe keeping, if she doesn't have a separate bank account open one and send documents to another house. Register on the benefits website for an account. Then if space allows move out and stay with relatives, if not she should go to the council or call women's aid who will help her with emergency accommodation.

ItsGettingLight Mon 03-Aug-20 08:20:35

I think I’ve read things in the past about being careful about staying with relatives as this could affect emerita and/or eligibility for council housing. Can anyone tell me if this is right?

OP’s posts: |
AuntieStella Mon 03-Aug-20 08:23:00

I’m not sure how she stands with them not being married. Is child maintenance all she can expect ?

From him, yes - but the fewer ties to him the better.

Too many maybes to try to guess the benefit situation - she needs to use an online calculator (clear history after, or do on someone else's device) and go to CAB, who can help in many ways.

Aim for complete independence from him - so if he decides to be flaky about paying child maintenance, it doesn't sink her new household.

And for you OP: you are doing the right thing flowers things haven't changed for her because she's told you (he doesn't know, he's not getting worse at the moment). Except for the better, because planning how to get out will in itself make you stronger.

And she has one of the most important assets there is - family who will support her

chocolatespiders Mon 03-Aug-20 08:33:14

I feel for your sister. She could approach local council to see if they can help with housing. When I worked in housing people fleeing abuse got a high priority but were often placed outside area due to the situation. So that may affect her choice but they may be able to help secure a private rental and help with deposit etc. Its always worth asking.
Good luck to her I hope she ca be brave enough to take a chance and get out.

Bemorechicken Mon 03-Aug-20 08:35:19

Firstly combine forces. Getting her and the children out with all their stuff if possible is a priority.

So on a day he has work -and is out at 8am. You arrive with 10 friends and family and a van or two and cars and as many boxes as you can find and get before off local FB groups etc and empty the house of her property and the children's including beds, clothes, garage stuff etc. no regrets, take all the children's toys, any plants you want etc anything brought "jointly" eg tv, microwave. all warranties etc -all paperwork. You can always give things back but you won't be allowed back to get more.

Then she needs to ensure she has : photos, passports, banks statements and ID, any baby stuff and stuff from the loft.
Regarding online stuff -change passwords on everything but logging in from a totally different laptop. FB, SM, Bank, School, everything, email -change your passwords. Have a standard letter regarding the situation.
Due to domestic violence, myself and A and B have left the address ..............
We have moved to this adddress on a temporary basis..............
Please do not disclose this to any third party.

Then her solicitor -if she has got her ducks in a row -provides a letter saying due to x,y,z, I am leaving you. Please do not contact me except with regard to contact of the children -and that is the only thing and go via my solicitor at this address. Solicitor needs to file an emergency custody order.

Contact the police AFTER this and report the abuse together with any evidence. At this point ask for a meeting with GP and explain the situation and the sexual abuse etc to the GP, police. Notify schools.

Change the address with the post office for her and the children to divert to your parents. Notify school, dentists, doctor etc of change of address to your parents.

It is possible. I did it. I had friends around me that did not waver, once. I regret sometimes, I left christmas dec in the loft for example -I shouldn't of.

Housing, benefits, you can sort out the next day. Once she is out. This is not a consideration right now. She needs to leave asap. If he gets wind of it, he will escalate.

Bemorechicken Mon 03-Aug-20 08:36:44

She will (in my experience) have NO claim to the house. Although a solicitor can help her. Believe me money is NOT important right now. Another night of her being raped is.

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